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The Secret World is a game about the sort of worldwide conspiracy filled with secret societies and mystical threads that everyone knows about, and the contradictions inherent to the above phrase create a good view point for the entire game, which was developed by Funcom and is currently available on the PC with a subscription payment model. The premise is that you have acquired knowledge and potential which allow you to join the Templars, who tend to be ruthless but somehow heroic, the Illuminati, spiritually inclined, or The Dragon, with an Eastern take on the secret society concept. Regardless of what a player chooses, he will do missions, advance in hierarchy, get new skills, new weapons and items and he will get ever closer to piecing together the story of what’s happening on a global level.
After a while, the factions tend to blend into one another, but The Secret World managed to keep me interested by offering a lot of really well-designed quests, especially the ones linked to puzzles rather than combat, and by creating a sense of a world for the game that I never found in the behemoth of the MMO space, World of Warcraft.
The development team at Funcom has done this by spending resources on area and town design, especially for the hubs of London, New York and Seoul, going so far as to model buildings with impressive architecture that one will never visit and even include street food vendors that the game could have done without. The Secret World is an MMO that tries to get ahead of the core mechanics of the genre by implementing a set of innovative mechanics and by adding supernatural and mystical elements to create an atmosphere that is highly effective at intriguing and scaring the player.
There are solo missions, Player versus Player zones, cooperative elements, a lot of combat, as in any other MMO, but The Secret World manages to distinguish itself by adding puzzles to the game and quite a bit of atmosphere.
It’s impressive how many monsters and creatures Funcom has managed to cram into the game, and I lost quite a bit of time in the in-game browser learning about many of them and also looking for clues linked to the many good – but overly difficult – puzzles that the creators introduced. The combat itself can be fun at first, as more options and skills are opened up, but it tends to become a little repetitive and boring later on, especially for those characters who are unwilling to mix abilities and try out different roles in a group. One of the more interesting innovations in the game has to do with inventory management, where the player can quickly create Bags (with the option to name and then hotlink to them) which hold different types of items and allow the player to easily organize his belongings, which have a tendency, as in every other MMO, to multiply at an incredible pace.
The overall User Interface is also well designed, allowing quick access to all the important tabs, but Funcom has recently had some troubles, which are supposed to be soon fixed via patch, with the in-game chat system.
Before the launch of The Secret World, Funcom took great pride in the modern look of the game, which aimed to deliver a high-end graphics experience even to gamers who lacked top-of-the-line gaming PCs.
Unfortunately, even with a solid computer and one of the best graphics chips on the market, the Nvidia-made GTX 670, The Secret World has some visual issues. At least one of them seems to be linked to the Dreamworld Engine that the MMO uses, the same core technology that Funcom also used for its previous effort, Age of Conan. Despite the upgrades, the technology struggles at times, especially when moving from enclosed areas to the open spaces that have more details and more characters to show and when the on-screen action gets too hectic. The loading times also tend to be quite long and there are moments when even the usually crisp and well-designed cutscenes suffer because the game still loads textures in the background while they run. But when The Secret World works in terms of graphics engine the results are impressive, a blending of real-world locations and mystical beasts that mesh well and, at times, really awes, especially when entering an area for the first time.
When it comes to voice acting, The Secret World is pretty uneven, which is only understandable given the amount of dialog that the development team had to record. Some of the characters manage to inhabit their roles and really convince the player they are part of extensive secret societies dedicated to protecting the Earth from supernatural threats, but others fail to install any kind of passion in their lines.
The music is solid for the MMO space, easily blending into the background most of the time, while also delivering a needed punch during the toughest action sequences.
By design, MMO titles are social and they promote the creation of tightly-knit groups that share burdens, swap information and support each other. It seems that this is even more important when it comes to The Secret World because of the nature of the game and the way puzzles need to be reasoned out, rather than simply be mechanically solved in the game itself. The close collaboration probably favors those groups that can talk about The Secret World in their real lives and work out in advance what they plan to do in the MMO. This does not mean that the solo player should stay away from the Funcom-designed game, but everyone should be aware that to fully enjoy this experience, a solid group of MMO interested friends is a big advantage. The subscription barrier for The Secret World also means that it can take some convincing to get all your buddies to play the game and, in the longer term, it can lead to groups coming apart just as the end-game is in sight. The Secret World has a great idea behind it and I can understand why so many people were excited about what the game could be: a freedom-imbibed title that messed with most of the core rules of the genre while introducing a sense of real mystery in place of the conventions that have defined the MMO genre for so long.
Some of the promise is present in the game that developer Funcom delivered, but I fear that it’s not enough to make the game a solid long-term product, especially given the fact that it relies on a subscription model that is rarer than ever. The combat and character progression system is still linked to tropes of the MMO space and the mysteries, which should be the big stars of the game, are often too weird for a normal player, geared towards those who already have a solid interest in the supernatural and secret societies or are willing to learn.
The Secret World, as Funcom created it, can be a fine experience for the grizzled MMO player who is looking for something new that still falls within his field of expertise. For those players who tend to focus on solo play, the best thing to do at the moment is to give The Secret World one year to deliver more updates and go free-to-play and then check out what it has to offer.
The Character Skills menu -- which employs a circular menu broken up into chunks ? is unintuitive, however. The Secret World hosts a variety of neat extra features like a built-in browser, framerate counter, UI toggle, screenshot taking, video recording, and Facebook connectivity.
The browser is slick, fast, and doesn't hurt performance unlike Steam's, but it doesn't support Flash (at least not without some fairly extensive hacking), so you won't be able to check YouTube for walkthroughs or whatever else, and it crashes quite often. The rest of it works just dandy, so you'll be able to monitor performance easily, turn off the UI for screenshots or machinima purposes, take said screenshots (in JPG or PNG format), and get your Facebook on, if you so please. Funcom's latest is not far off from all you could ask for in a PC MMO: solid graphics, heaps of options, optimizations all over the place, reliable connectivity, and some neat extras. The weak combat and MMO padding hurt the experience, but The Secret World has innovation, atmosphere and charm.
It's always disappointing to see a new MMO stick religiously to the framework forged by previous games. This article originally appeared on io9 and appears here courtesy of the author, Chanda Phelan.
Most major religions, going back thousands of years, tell stories about the End of the World. I recently finished a thesis project on post-apocalyptic genre fiction, and in my research I made a list of 423 books, poems, and short stories about the apocalypse, published between 1826-2007, and charted them by the way their earth met its demise (humans, nature, god, etc.) to see the trends over time.
It’s not the idea of Ending itself that has faded – that will be around until we are actually mopped off the face of the Earth. That was the idea behind this chart – I wanted to see if there were patterns in how writers saw the monster. The post-apocalyptic technological utopias of the turn of the century are replaced by dystopias and robot rebellions after World War I (the first expansion of the green region devoted to human-made disaster), when everyone began to suspect that technology was only going to help us go about killing each other more efficiently, not cure us of the need to kill in the first place. The easily spotted trends make the patterns’ total collapse in the mid-1990s even weirder.
Preceding victory with annihilation disguises how dizzily optimistic some of these narratives are. During the pilgrimage through the wasteland, the survivors – and the readers – are left feeling ostracized from reality. Destroying the world in books about apocalypse is one way we can entirely take ownership of it.
Chanda Phelan graduated from Pomona College, where she completed a thesis on post-apocalyptic literature. I first started my personal blog back in 2005, which I’m pretty sure makes it the one of the oldest continually updated sites devoted to the post-apocalyptic genre. My interest in the post-apocalyptic genre remains as strong as ever, but over the last couple of years, real life has conspired to eat into the time I have to devote to writing reviews and other articles, so my posts there have been few and far between.
Its purpose is not to replace, or stand above, the other genre sites, but rather to create additional exposure and share traffic with the sites listed.
So, it’s a site of the post-apocalyptic genre, made by content creators in the post-apocalyptic genre, for the fans of the post-apocalyptic genre. I’ve had the movie 5ive on my to-see list for a long time, and finally took the time to sit down and watch it.
Released in 1951, 5ive is the earliest example of a true post-nuclear war survival story that I know of.  Other movies like Things to Come from 1936 showed a future where civilization had crumbled due to extended war, but coming out just six years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 5ive is likely the first such story of the Atomic Era.
The titular five are survivors of a world-wide nuclear apocalypse, four men and a woman, who stumble across each other and gather in a home up in the mountains. Also considering it’s age, there were a lot of plot points that were fairly progressive for the time. On a recent episode of Podcast at Ground Zero, Jarred mentioned that he was on the lookout for a British documentary called On the 8th Day, that had been shown in the US after the airing of Threadson TBS in 1984.
The 70s appetite for post-apocalyptic tales rolled on with the American release of The Ultimate Warrior (TUW) in late June of 1976. Seeing the civilized world we like to assume is permanent, in a state of abandon and decay, has a curious fascination. TEOTWAWKI — Exploring the notion of The End Of The World As We Know It, has shown up periodically in books since the early 1800s, and later in movies.
Taint of Doom — Within The Baron’s group, can be seen the legacy problems that plagued mankind since Cain slew Abel.
We’re Not in New York Anymore, Toto — Even though the story takes place in the ruins of New York City, the filming was actually done in California, mostly on sound stages and back lot generic “city” sets. This article originally appeared on John Kenneth Muir’s Reflections on Cult Movies and Classic TV blog. Although it was likely He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983 – 1985) that captured fully the imagination of young fantasy audiences in the early 1980s, I have always boasted tremendous affection as well for another genre piece of roughly the same age:Thundarr the Barbarian (1980 – 1982). This NBC Saturday morning series was created by Steve Gerber of Howard the Duck fame, and featured production design from Jack Kirby and Alex Toth. The premise of the series is that in the far-flung year of 1994, a runaway planet passes between the Earth and the moon, destroying man’s civilization virtually overnight.
Two-thousand years later, a new world has arisen from the ashes, one of monsters, mutants, barbarians, and even heroes like Thundarr. These three warriors ride together through the ruined and dangerous landscape, and battle many different colorful villains, including Groundlings (humanoid rat creatures), powerful wizards, and lizard people too. In Thundarr The Barbarian’s first episode, “Secret of the Black Pearl,” Ariel, Ookla and Thundarr rush to the aid of a “courier of the black pearl,” named Tyron. Tyron has been attempting to keep the mystical black pearl out of the hands of a deadly wizard named Gemini. Now Thundarr assumes that mission, but faces the minions of Gemini, who are hell-bent on stopping delivery of the pearl. In one of the first episode’s finest visual inventions, we see the sword-carrying knights of Gemini jump from a hovering helicopter to attack Thundarr and his friends on the ground below. The latter half of “Secret of the Black Pearl” involves Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel battling Gemini in the ruins of Manhattan, and there are many impressive frames of the ruination. Later, Gemini utilizes his evil magic to bring the Statue of Liberty to terrifying life (a moment that forecasts the Weeping Angel Statue of Liberty in the new Doctor Who), but Thundarr is able to vanquish the monstrosity by using Gemini’s pearl against him. Overall, “The Secret of the Black Pearl” is a pretty straightforward fantasy adventure, with elements of the productions I have listed above, as well as Star Wars, and Beneath the Planet of the Apes. But clearly, Thundarr the Barbarian is a kid’s version of much of the adult entertainment of the era, focusing on the end of technological civilization, and what might come next, after the fall of man. A tweet and a blog post gave me the idea for the next set of post-apocalyptic media to archive, a collection of public domain apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic comics. There are hundreds of reviews of the book around the web, so I’ll just stick with a few thoughts.
But the material that’s covered is perfect for anyone who wonders about how civilization would fare after an apocalypse.
Ish struggles with the answers to these kinds of questions as he tries to preserve and pass on enough knowledge to keep some semblance of civilization, if not simply his people, alive. So like I said before, if you’re not a fan of the genre, or are looking for a more action-oriented story, this might not be for you.

Also the book has a couple of nifty little Easter eggs scattered around for the careful reader to discover.
The next book you really need to look into is The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeir. This book centers on a farmer (who is somewhat intelligent) stumbling on a time capsule containing relics of the past. It all starts at a laboratory with a scientist who creates a bacteria that reanimates ancient life.
The general premise Year Zero is that a very nasty, super contagious, and uniformly fatal plague is unleashed. Reposted with permission of the author, Fear Death by Water, author of the Cosy Catastrophe blog. Now we’re back with a completely redesigned look, and some new features that should make it easier to just let the site keep going on its own. There may be some paid options in the future for enhanced or featured listings, but those are just vague ideas right now. Blog Posts – In addition to the directory listings of sites, registered users will also be able to submit posts to the site blog. As mentioned, you can scale the GUI as you like (though you can't fiddle with the chat window much, so there's a limit before it looks crap), but by default it's already very well optimized for high resolutions, as well as the mouse and keyboard. It's interesting, but grossly inefficient, and the alternate sidebar menu -- while also pleasant to look at -- is equally tedious to navigate. I tried both the .MOV and Quicktime formats offered, but both resulted in empty video files that wouldn't play. On the downside, performance, while respectable, isn't ideal, and minor annoyances ? which could be patched out ? come in the form of a few lacking options, busted features, and confusing menus.
It’s the actual moment of disaster, the blood and guts and fire, that has been losing ground in stories of the End. Other trends are there, too: anxiety about pollution and global warming tend to spike whenever nuclear fears fade, for example. Human-created apocalypses shrink dramatically, and there’s a sudden spike of unexplained apocalypse scenarios at the turn of the century.
Stories about the End are so beautifully paradoxical; they are some of the most powerful affirmation stories we have. The characters are probably more concerned with where their next meal is coming from, but the reader sees how they are cut loose from the anchors that previously protected us from being overwhelmed by the meaninglessness of existence. We can only see the world the way we have been raised to, the way our parents saw it, so we need to raze the old world and build a new one in its place in order to have a world that is really and entirely our own. Initially, they appear to get along and work together, but eventually differing opinions lead to arguments, and ultimately, to violence. That newspaper thing has been used countless times since then, but considering the movie is 60 years old, that was probably an original idea back then. Roseanne is revealed to be pregnant early on, and in a photograph we see that her husband was African-American.  One of the survivors, Charles, is also African-American, and when the racist Eric arrives, that sets up a conflict where his exclusionary beliefs are definitely shown in a negative light. The story is not really “science” fiction, as much as it belongs in the post-apocalyptic genre. Writers and audiences had a sinking feeling (every now and then) that the civilization to which people had grown accustomed to mightfail.
They cling to hope, and try to maintain some semblance of order, but the fallen nature of humanity shows through the widening cracks.
The only visuals to place the action in New York, are still photos at the beginning and end. The opening credits of the series are very picturesque, and reveal the moon shattered in two, and volcano lava encroaching on imperiled urban areas.
This great hero (another descendant, no doubt, of Howard’s Conan…) carries a special high-tech weapon called a “sun sword” which, like a light-saber, can retract into a special hilt. Thundarr’s journeys often take him inside the ruins of ancient cities, where danger and intrigue await. He was en route to the ancient city of “Manhat” (Manhattan…) when intercepted by Groundlings. I find the series generally inventive, in part, because it couches its premise of apocalypse in terms of being an accident or disaster, rather than the result of nuclear war.
It follows Isherwood Williams, known as just Ish, for a period of about 50 or 60 years, starting after The Great Disaster, an unknown plague that wipes out all but just a few pockets of survivors. They face actual dangers, such as wanderers bearing disease, but the greatest threat to the future of The Tribe is their apathy.
These relics are books and diagrams as well as scale models of fantastic machines that just might be able to send the society on a path back to its former greatness. Also everything as well.Fossils in the museum, cuts of meat in the grocery store, and all people in the all the cemeteries.
It spreads from the tiny island of Corfu in Greece and eventually spreads all across the globe and the last bastion for humanity turns out to be Los Alamos. It’s offered as the journal of boy who is seven years and seven days old as the book starts. They can be be dispatched in the traditional way; a good blow to the head that shatters the skull will do it. He chooses to spend the last six weeks of his life watching television, smoking pot, spanking the monkey almost constantly and also hanging out with his parents.
There are countless tabs to click on, the scroll wheel works when you'd expect, and menus are uniquely styled, such that it's easy to see this would be an awful, useless mess on console. Gaia is on a recruitment drive, sending these insects on a suicide mission to the oesophagus and granting the recipients access to a secret world of ancient myths, urban legends and devastating power.It makes for a limp superhero origin, but fits the game's everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to its story. Post-apocalyptic fiction is a 200-year-old trend, and for 170 of those years, the ways writers imagined the end were pretty transparently a reflection of whatever was going on around them – nuclear war, environmental concerns, etc. There are an increasing number of books and films, like The Road and Zombieland, which pick up after the catastrophe and sometimes don’t bother to explain what happened at all. They can hardly be classified as optimistic, but no matter what happens, even if the End came by human hands, in most stories we are fixable.
I think everyone’s had that feeling of wanting to just heave everything out the window and start over. The only way to fix it is to find new ways of looking, new patterns to create meaning in the new world. The story of the End, after all, is not nearly as compelling as the story of the Beginning that comes after it.
In the city, there is a compound, fortified with junk ramparts, in which a remnant of civilized mankind lives. It interesting to see in the beginning montage, that the Twin Towers were still standing in “2012”.
Here, the ancient helicopter has been re-purposed as the weapon of primitives who would have no idea, even, about its construction centuries ago. We see The Tribe, as they call themselves, started from just seven survivors, as it develops into a group of over a hundred people in the hills of San Francisco.
Would they care to learn to read or to carry on the knowledge of the “Old Ones”? I’ve noticed that most people when listing their favorite book will normally put the first one they read at the top of the list.
Basically that humans can be divided into three groups: Those still alive on earth, the recently departed (remembered) (sasha), and the dead (forgotten) (zamani).
It starts because Niko, the collector, liked to find artifacts and the best of these in his opinion were sealed vials. I haven’t read The Dying in a good long time but as I read it I kept thinking about how it reminded me of that book. He’s a book smart sort and gets help from another scientist who specialises in Arctic Peoples and customs. In this brave new world they have thought of some pretty interesting plans to outwit hunger.
A future archaeologist stumbles upon a vast complex that has been untouched since the time of the great cataclysm. A glowing high light of this work is Abraham Lincoln’s vengeance against John Wilkes Booth. The deal is that a giant asteroid is going to strike the Earth just off the coast of New Zealand.
If you preordered it the book came autographed and with a bonus chapter called ‘Speaking of Butler’. Stories of the End have never been about ending – they’re about the beginning that comes after. For the most part, we have faith that though we may screw up, and very badly, we will learn from our mistakes and the world will be better for it. Yul Brynner stars as a freelance “warrior” amid the tribal societies of a post-apocalyptic New York City. Max von Sydow does a good job as The Baron, the world-weary (yet resolutely hopeful) leader of a decaying society.
In the industrializing era of the 19th century, teotwawki fiction did not get a lot of traction.
The Baron saw the only hope for the survival of civilized man, was to once again become producers of food, not scavengers. One, Carson may not have had the strength left, after all those fights, to pull heavy Carrot up high enough. Even when a few of them gather to start a community, the writing style is mostly descriptive, without a lot of talk. Would they view the Old Ones as people like themselves, or would they look on them as gods who created all the indecipherable wonders they see around them? So they live off the corpse of the old world, eating wild animals or out of cans for decades, not bothering to learn how to plant their own crops or keep their own farms. While The Stand is my favorite book, I consider the portions when the survivors are regrouping and the denouement as my favorite parts. Residents of the city stay as long as there are people living on earth that still remember them well; their faces, their personalities, the actual sound of their voices. He broke them open a give the ol’ sniffer sniff to the rarefied air of millennia past. Loves the part where the scientists were tracking the progress of the virus with satellites. The whole family is under the stairs with their dog (a wolfhound my personal favorite dog breed) because the bombs have fallen.
Anyhow one day she told me about this book she used to use when she taught an archeology unit. So he says his final tearful goodbye to his mom and dad and sets out through a world that has no tomorrow, second thoughts, regrets or punishment. The terror of a possible nuclear war faded, and no new extravagant ways to kill ourselves appeared to replace it. They are puzzled by a man who just stands in front of the library, for days, in a meditative trance.

Between the two tribal camps were the “street people” — unorganized feral humans who preyed on the weak or the stray. A few lines of dialogue explain that there was a plague which not only affected people (in the subway tunnels are skeletons wearing gas masks), but more importantly, the plague killed the world’s food crops. One man, a sort of Judas character, steals a tomato (forbidden fruit) and plants it in another man’s hut. Second, is that Carrot would not have simply held still enough for Carson to make the chop, which leads to: Third, to have his cable-gripped hand within range of the axe, would put the axe within range of Carrot’s free hand. Fans of Clouse for his martial arts and fight scenes may be disappointed, as fighting is not the focal point. Also I am surprised to find out from time-to-time that there are apocalypse geeks who haven’t heard of nor read The Stand. When the last person remembering them dies, they go to the zamani and are then recalled by name only. When all of the people who remember them live in the city, they vanish along with all their belongings, house and stuff. The Stand is clearly Good (Mother Abigail) versus Evil (Randal Flagg) and in Swan Song it Life (Sue Wanda) Versus Death (The Man With The Scarlet Eye). The point of the specific lesson was how sometimes professional archaeologists have to take a guess about the purpose and function of some of the things they find.
I’ll open the cover start reading and before I know it half the night and the book are simultaniously gone.
Broad horror caricatures are given the chance to grandstand in an environment where, whether they're waxing philosophical, crazily conspiratorial or just generally unhinged, their fears and paranoia are all real.The game is never precious with its fiction, and it's refreshing to see a zombie apocalypse that isn't afraid to namecheck Left 4 Dead.
Convinced that the man is the warrior he needs, The Baron makes him an offer of food, lodging, freedom and cigars. Those who did not die of plague, or starved to death, were reduced to scavengers of whatever food existed before the plague. The framed man gets no support from his neighbors, hinting at offstage tensions or rivalries. To swing at Carrot’s wrist was to risk Carrot grabbing the axe and pulling Carson down too. The governments of the world knew about the asteroid for years but chose to keep the knowledge from everyone until there was only six weeks left. While Funcom definitely front-load their best characters for the opening town of Kingsmouth, I'm yet to hit the point of wanting to skip past the dialogue to get on with the quest.What doesn't quite work is the silent protagonist you play.
Robert Clouse, famous as the director of martial arts films such as, Enter The Dragon, wrote the story as well as directed. He was even willing to sacrifice his own hand to insure the micro-family would be safe from evil. Fourth, is that pulling Carrot up high enough to chop his wrist, would put Carrot’s free hand within grabbing distance of the edge of the hole. The basic premise of the book is a military project to engineer biological weapons has a breech.
They deal with hunger (them and the dog), cabin fever from being sequestered in the closet under the stairs for weeks on end, and roaming scavengers looking for food. It's an understandable omission given the amount of voice-acting already in the game, but as with everything else, the script continually draws attention to your silence.
With the advent of the nuclear era, the prospect of comfy civilization crumbling looked a lot more plausible.
Carson and Melinda, while never cast as a romantic pair, become a sort of Adam and Eve with their Garden sanctuary off the coast.
Also a sequel that picks up the action right where this book ends and ties up all the loose ends. Her teachers use the looming disaster as an excuse to pile on the homework with not one, not two, but three essays about the moon. When the late 60s-early 70s added angst over pollution and overpopulation, people had even more reasons to picture teotwawki.
He is growing food plants that are immune to the plague that decimated the earth decades ago. Only The Baron’s lieutenant seems to realize afterward how they had suddenly decayed into a savage mob, ala The Lord of the Flies. Just when you think they can finally settle in for simple survival, volcanoes begin erupting bringing on an ice age. I had a moment of genuine shock when my character accepted a mint some 35+ hours into the game. He wants Carson to take his pregnant daughter, Melinda and Cal out of the city via subway tunnels, to go live on an idyllic island off the North Carolina coast.
That would have been much too exciting.In places, The Secret World has some of the best mission design I've seen in an MMO. One shrew of a woman ventures out beyond the gates, assuming that she knows where some powdered milk is hidden.
You'll also find plenty of side-missions littered around the map, taking the form of fetch quests where you have to examine your surroundings and explore various places, hunting for the objective.It's the investigation missions that frequently provide the most fun.
Members of the rival (and criminal) gang, led by a read-headed man named Carrot, catch the couple in the bakery and kill them. They're puzzles, often realised as mini-Alternate Reality Games that require you to step out of the game world and use the internet to find clues to your next goal.
OK, technically my smartphone did the last one.There is the occasional instance on the dreaded adventure-game logic, where the goal is more working out what the developers intended than what the clues point you to. One bizarre mission could only be finished by me killing my character and completing it in anima form, the state you exist in before respawning.Despite such occasional quirks, there's an immense satisfaction to be gained from solving these puzzles.
Communal puzzle solving, moreover, is a clever way to encourage friends to group together in a more meaningful way than a straight series of fights.
Assuming of course, that you don't simply Google directly for the quest solution, negating the whole investigation.Sabotage missions, meanwhile, are light on the puzzles, but tend to lean heavily on exploration and discovery.
These at least attempt something different in the MMO world, but are too wonky in execution to succeed. Set in basements full of security cameras and laser traps, the premise of these missions is that triggering either will cause the room to explode. These bugs seem to exist only on specific servers, with Cerberus, the server my main character lives on, being the most frequently affected. For the moment, it can be hard to tell.It's the action missions that provide the weakest link. There's some variety, but for the most part they're taken straight from the MMO kiln, moulded as usual. Typically these missions make up the bulk of your game time, and as you progress to new areas, you'll receive the same objectives, just with different monsters.That the locations are so interesting goes a long way to make up for the padding.
Secret World's warped yet real-world setting makes a big difference to the tone and atmosphere of a genre typified by elven treehouses and twee medieval villages. That The Secret World forgoes the usual cartoony MMO design does take its toll on the technical side, however. Each of the areas, even the later stages in Egypt, are covered in a dense fog that does its best to hide low draw distances and enemy pop-in. It can't help but dilute the experience.Perhaps most disappointing is that some areas feel like wasted opportunities. Throughout the second map, The Savage Coast, a shaft of light rotates overhead from the lighthouse in the bottom corner. Trawl the surrounding area killing five of this, ten of that and fifteen of the other.It doesn't help that the combat is so uninspired. You hit the number keys of your hotbar in a repeat pattern as your character chip, chip, chips away at the enemy's health bar. As you progress through the levels, the mobs don't get more challenging, they just take more time to kill.It was only a few hours in before I started blatantly gaming the system. Weaving a path between the attack triggers of mobs, sprinting through sections until my trail of pursuers tapered off, stepping up for an attack only when absolutely necessary.At least the group dungeons make things more interesting.
There, monsters can utilise the environment, electrocuting standing water, for example, to restrict the movement of players.It's strange that the solo instances rarely take the same approach. Enter certain buildings or caves as part of a quest and you can trigger plot-heavy one-man areas that advance the story of your character.
It's a more naturalistic system than The Old Republic's giant green and red barriers, but the monsters inside mirror the patterns of those in the open world.
Instead, XP gained from kills and quests is put towards ability points and skill points, which are generated at the same rate throughout the game.Ability points dictate the attacks and passive bonuses you can use. Seven of each can be equipped at any one time in a customisable deck that makes up your character's build. My Paladin build could be followed by any player of any faction, but only the Templar agents would get the special outfit rewarded for completing a deck.In solo PvE it makes for subtle shifts rather than dramatic changes to your attack style.
There's a lot of wastage, as the more expensive highpowered attacks are only available by first buying all the lower branch abilities for that weapon, followed by all the preceding ones on that particular segment. Your optimal attack patterns will remain unchanged for large periods of time, punctuated by occasional experimentation and alterations.When grouping, the amount of extra, seemingly redundant attacks you collect start to make sense. When my party's healer dropped out during one dungeon run, we were able to cobble together enough spare abilities to take the strain.
Not enough to fully switch to tanking, but a helpful backup if the need arose.The system breeds a lack of specialisation and definition, but the freedom to shift into whatever gap needs filling makes for a welcome change.
The higher the point level, the better quality equipment you can equip, and it's this equipment that decides the power of your character.Given the scarcity of shops in the game, you'll need to create most of the weapons and equipment yourself. These can then be upgraded into better quality versions which, when combined with a toolkit of a specific level, will create the item you need. But actually doing this requires you to make the crude shape of the object in the blueprint panel. It's like someone looked at Team Fortress 2's metal crafting and thought it would be neat if there was a memory test at the end.The Secret World's faction system feels underdeveloped. Whether you choose Illuminati, Templars or Dragon, your experience will be broadly the same. Despite each having a separate starting location, used to pick up the small number of faction-specific quests you'll encounter, the main drive of the plot is identical for each character.
The idea that each side exists in an uneasy truce is only really explored in PvP.There's no open-world PvP, so combat takes place on two objective-based battlefields and the Fusang Projects warzone.
While the hundreds of players clashing over the warzone can be an impressive sight, the whole thing feels like an afterthought, tacked on because it's an MMO requirement.
Ironically, the reason it doesn't work is the same ability wheel that makes PvE grouping so good. With no set class definitions, it can be impossible to predict the tricks your opponent is bringing to a fight, making each encounter a gamble.Also lacking, at least for now, is the endgame content available when players eventually finish the story.

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